Sunday, April 29, 2007
Carpenter Bees, Beautiful & Destructive
Carpenter bees are considered a pest. In regions they inhabit exposed lumber, particularly softwood are at risk of damage. For nesting sites the females will drill perfectly round 7/16” holes in the underside of any board or timber. They are particularly damaging to decks, both treated and untreated. Carpenter bees can be discouraged with a coat of paint or stain but even that is not guaranteed to stop them completely. The nesting hole will make a 90 deg. Turn once inside and continue on for perhaps over a foot. Into this cavity they will deposit pollen and eggs. The carpenter bees will also winter over here.
However destructive they are, they are a beautiful little creature. At this time of year the males are commonly found hovering near buildings, staking out the breeding rights to a particular piece of territory. They will vigorously attack any insect daring to invade. When a female comes near the airborne mating ritual will ensue
I’m sure that by now you are wondering how I can identify the sex of these bees. Well it is quite simple. The males, also known as drones have a small yellowish patch on their face just below their compound eyes. The “white” face can be seen in this photograph just above the bee’s black mouth parts. The females face is completely black. The male does not have a stinger and may be caught and handled with no risk. Do not try this with the female! Although normally very docile they can inflict a painful sting.